Soheil Parsa


Translations: Danish, English

Interview: Barbara Simonsen
Toronto , January 25, 2009


What is your first memory of theatre?

I think I was in my teens when I got interested in theatre. I started in high school, acting in school shows, but it wasn’t really serious. I was in love with basket ball. I was a very good basket ball player, so good that I was about to get on the provincial team. My coach thought that I might even make it to the national team, if I worked hard. So I was in love with basket ball. But somehow, in grade 11or 12 I got turned off by the whole environment, the sport mentality, the competitive, masculine atmosphere of the whole thing. But I was only doing theatre once in a while, as a hobby.

I was, I think, about 20, when one summer I went to Tehran, the capital. My home town is in the west of Iran, and at the time my older brother was a student at Tehran University. He asked me if I wanted to see a movie called Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin. He said, “Do you know him?” and I said, “I’ve heard of him.” So I went and I saw the movie with my brother and it turned my life completely. I was so fascinated by the film. I’m not saying that immediately I knew this was my path of life, and that I had to become an artist. But I was really fascinated by that movie and I saw it twice that week. And I think it was the beginning of my journey in theatre. The following year I applied for the theatre school in Tehran. I didn’t get in. The competition was tough.The second year I failed again. They were only accepting 17-20 people out of a thousand.

I realised that my knowledge about theatre was very small. I was a blond, handsome guy with green eyes and long hair; I was thinking that I would be a superstar and act in the big movies, Iranian movies. But the message I got in the first two auditions was that there was a lot of things about theatre that I would have to just go and learn, I’d have to read. So the year before I applied for the third time I read plays, Iranian, Western; Bertolt Brecht, Chekov, Stanislavskij. And the third time I got in. I was very happy. That was two years before the revolution.


Translation: Maya Bjerrum Trinkjær og Barbara Simonsen